News : Police Hotline Not So Hot
Cape Town, South Africa, Aug 21, 2015 -- Police 10111 hotline operators need extensive training to answer and deal with emergency calls from children. This was just one of the suggestions at a community meeting with police on Wednesday evening.
Teachers from various schools in the northern areas joined other community members at the Mountain Rise Community Policing Forum (CPF) meeting to address safety and other concerns at Club Woodlander.
A teacher, who asked not to be named, said the 10111 call centre agents were not properly trained and "especially not trained with handling calls from children".
Speaking to the Midlands commander of the 10111 hotline Colonel Jannie Venter, the educators said the emergency contact number is taught to every pupil.
"We teach children as young as Grade RR to call 10111 in case of an emergency. However, we feel that the hotline is not child-friendly and not equipped to handle calls from children. That call centre needs to operate like a 911 call centre where any call from any person of any age is handled and the correct authorities are made aware of the situation," said the teacher.
Colonel Venter agreed that training of the call centre’s agents in that regard should be "looked into".
Other community members raised issues of calls to 10111 going unanswered or being picked up by "rude people".
Some also said their calls were received by the call centre, however, vehicles were only dispatched nearly two hours later.
Colonel Venter said he could not dispute that some police officers refuse to pick up the radio control calls or that they report for duty late. He said it is highly important for callers to ask for the police officer’s name and the Incident Registration number to ensure their complaint was recorded.
"Also take down the time at which you called 10111 so that we can see who you dealt with, listen to the call recording and take the necessary steps," he said.
Mountain Rise Colonel Boxer Pillay said the station and radio control face many challenges but the public should understand that not all calls to 10111 are urgent hence the delay in some responses. "It is not a question of not enough resources.
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There are certain days in the week where we receive a high volume of calls. We have to ascertain which are the serious calls that need us there urgently.
For example, in the Mountain Rise area on weekends there are many domestic problems. If a murder or accident occurs, it is considered more serious than a domestic dispute that can be handled by the family. We are not saying that we will not attend to you, we will," said Colonel Pillay.
Raisethorpe resident Rikesh Ishwarlall said that 10111 is a vital number and the "community should not be put in a position [where they have] to accept poor service delivery".
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Play Your Agents Their Calls
About Police 10111:
This is a 24-hour crime reporting call centre which deals with complaints by the public. The calls can be made on a landline - these calls are free, or from a cell phone, which are charged at the normal cell phone rates. All calls to the centre are recorded.
Published: Monday, August 24, 2015
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